litmuses

Cultural Dictionary
litmus [(lit-muhs)]

In chemistry, a kind of paper used to tell whether a solution is an acid or a base. Acids turn blue litmus paper red; bases turn red litmus paper blue. Other testing paper or sophisticated instruments can be used to measure the pH of a solution more precisely.

Note: The term litmus is often used to refer to a general and simple test: “Your vote on this issue is a litmus test of your political philosophy.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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